Rescuers in Pakistan call off efforts to save Polish climber

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Pakistani climber Karim Shah, who was in contact with the expedition, said the rescue effort was unmatched in the history of mountaineering, with the team ascending 1,200 metres in complete darkness along a treacherous route without a fixed rope.

Tomasz Mackiewicz from Poland, and Elisabeth Revol of France, were attempting to scale the 8,126-meter (26,660-feet) Nanga Parbat.

Janusz Majer, who helped prepare the Polish expedition team now scaling K2, said that messages sent by Revol said Mackiewicz was suffering from snow blindness and frostbite.

French climber Elisabeth Revol and Polish mountaineer Tomek Mackiewicz. All our thoughts go out to Tomek's family and friends.

Four members from a team of Polish climbers attempting the first winter ascent of nearby K2, the world's second-highest mountain, are assisting in the rescue operation after a Pakistan Army helicopter picked them up from their base camp and flew them to Nanga Parbat on Saturday. She had frostbite on her feet, could not walk and the operation to get her off the mountain was expected to be hard.

The elite mountaineers Adam Bielicki and Denis Urubko began their ascent on Saturday evening, trying to reach Revol while the winter weather remained clear enough to allow them to climb.

"They hopefully will recover the lady tonight", he said, adding that saving Mackiewicz will be "quite difficult" because he is believed to "be present on a very high point". From there, Revol was taken to Islamabad for further medical treatment.

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"After receiving information about the terms of assistance provided by local entities, [Poland Foreign] Minister Jacek Czaputowicz - in agreement with the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki - chose to immediately mobilise financial resources to cover transport costs as part of a rescue operation", read a statement issued by the Polish foreign ministry on Friday. But due to bad weather conditions at the K2 base camp from where the helicopters had to pick the four Polish experts, the rescue operation was delayed.

A crowd-funding campaign set up by Russian-born British businesswoman Masha Gordon to cover the cost of the rescue had raised €82,831 ($102,000) by early Sunday.

Revol knows Mackiewicz's location high up on Nanga Parbat, where in winter perceived temperatures can reach minus 60 degrees celsius.

Pakistan rivals Nepal for the number of peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet).

Killer Mountain has earned its morbid nickname.

Last June, Spanish alpinist Alberto Zerain and Argentinian Mariano Galvan had gone went missing while attempting to summit the "Killer Mountain".